Yanceyville, NC-- A Caswell County man is headed to prison following North Carolina's first conviction under Susie's Law.
Jimmy L. Spears, Jr. pleaded guilty to three counts of felonious animal cruelty by starvation. He was given three consecutive sentences of 19-23 months in prison.
In January, three dogs owned by Spears were found dead inside a doghouse. Kim Alboum, the NC State Director of Humane Society of the US, said the dogs were found all huddled together.
Alboum said it was "a horrible case of animal cruelty and we can do better than this in North Carolina". She said another puppy was confiscated from the home, but was okay.
Caswell County District Attorney Wallace Bradsher said the case marks the first case prosecuted under Susie's Law. Susie's mom, Donna Lawrence, was in the courtroom for the preceedings. "This is so exciting to me because it means that all of our hard work finally paid off, we drove an hour today to get there, everybody took off work, the susies law team was so exicted it was worth it all to go there today and see this plea bargain and to see him getting time for this."
She said she came straight home from Caswell County to share her good news. "I came straight home and told Susie about it! I mean to me, she's been the voice for the animals out there, you know, and it makes what happened to her... it makes it... its good to see it pay off, that we get some convictions of these cases."
Susie's Law went into effect on December 1, 2010. The law makes it a felony to starve, torture, mutilate, or disfigure an animal, which can lead to jail time. Lawrence said there's still work to be done. "You know we are trying to amend Susie's Law to make the penalties even stiffer and change some wording in it. But today was very good for us. Susie's Law paid off today. This is a good step for North Carolina. There's always room for improvement but this is a very big step in the right direction."
The law is named after Susie, a dog that was found beaten and burned in a Greensboro park in 2009.
WFMY News 2